The SURA Foundation is providing its support to enhancing rural education in Antioquia so as to bring down school dropout rates

  • With a donation amounting to COP 400 million this year alone, the SURA Foundation is providing its support to the programs being carried out by Alianza ERA, an institution dedicated to improving the quality of education in Southwestern Antioquia. Since 2018 a total of COP 1,200 million has been invested in this project.
  • Training for both teachers and parents and improved pedagogical skills are just some of the initiatives that are helping schoolchildren in rural areas to continue their education from preschool to higher education.
  • This comes in addition to the COP 8,246 million that the SURA Foundation has already invested so far this year in its Quality of Education Line of Support in Colombia.

Medellín. October 8, 2020 In order to mitigate the school dropout rate in Antioquia, the Alianza ERA (Rural Education for Antioquia) is present in 16 municipalities in Southwestern Antioquia, where it is improving the education being received by 16,476 children and youngsters attending  377 schools in the countryside, this by training their parents and teachers and using methodologies and tools that encourage students to stay in school so that they may complete their academic studies.

This program intends to extend its scope to include all 23 municipalities of Southwestern Antioquia by 2022. More specifically, the SURA Foundation has donated COP 400 million to this program this year, bringing the total to COP 1,200 million since 2018, this as part of its Quality of Education Line of Support.

"Here in the SURA Foundation we are working to improve education and that is why we are participating in the Alianza ERA, because it allows us to join forces in providing more inclusive, quality education, thereby encouraging meaningful learning processes in the rural areas of Southwestern Antioquia. We are providing our support to this objective by helping the children and youngsters benefiting from this program to transform their own living conditions, as well as those of their families and communities, thereby strengthening their skills from the know-how and practical standpoints", explained Maria Mercedes Barrera, Executive Director of the SURA Foundation.

In Antioquia, one of the main problems to be addressed is the school dropout rate, which is becoming more frequent in the rural areas, especially in the more out-of-the-way locations where school education begins in the first and ends in the fifth grade, and  consequently, students must travel to the nearest town in order to continue their high school education, which in itself poses a difficulty for continuing their studies. 

In response to this situation, Alianza ERA has developed programs for rural teachers and parents, aimed at strengthening their ability to educate and assist both children and youngsters, so that teachers receive complementary training that allows them to expand upon the curriculum offered and parents are able to acquire tools for encouraging and facilitating learning from home.

In fact, during this latest public health emergency with the COVID pandemic, the Alliance was able to reinforce its training initiative for 982 teachers using on-line platforms, and in so doing provide the necessary skills for assisting schoolchildren and their families in this difficult situation. 

"Thanks to a greater level of awareness that families throughout the region have gained as well as the efforts of the Alianza ERA, school dropout rates have decreased considerably compared to other regions in Antioquia, so parents are essential in encouraging education and keeping children and youngsters in school," explained Vanessa Escobar, Director of the Secretos para Contar Foundation, which operates the Alianza.

The Alianza ERA is developing three core programs:

  • the Reading Plan which encourages recreational reading, values and good family relations.
  • Productive Pedagogical Projects (PPP), which helps with the implementation of good dietary and environmental practices from the standpoint of agricultural production, this in the form of ensuring a sustainable business for families.
  • The U en el Campo (University in the Countryside), provides university training in the form of imparting useful knowledge to youngsters so that they may further the development of their own territories from different standpoints including tourism, sustainable agricultural production and software development.

"Nowadays there are many fields of learning and we are indeed obtaining a great deal of knowledge that is enriching our resumes for future job opportunities while encouraging us to continue with our studies," explained one of the beneficiaries of the University in the Countryside program.

The Alianza ERA hopes to end this year with the graduation of 25 students from Southwestern Antioquia, who are about to complete their studies in Tourism Technology. The skills and learning thus obtained shall be used to strengthen and energize this specific economic sector that is becoming increasingly important for the region. By 2021, this project expects to complete the process of incorporating the municipalities of Fredonia, Valparaiso, Caramanta and Betulia, so as to continue with its efforts to strengthen education in these parts of the region.